First Published: 2012-12-27

 

Charges against Israel's Lieberman toughened

 

Attorney General presents tougher version of same charges brought against former Israeli FM with more evidence, additional witnesses.

 

Middle East Online

More headache for Lieberman

JERUSALEM - Israeli prosecutors have decided to toughen charges levelled against ex-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman of fraud and breach of trust, the justice ministry said on Thursday.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced on December 13 that he would be charging Lieberman with the two offences over the promotion of Israel's former ambassador to Belarus, Zeev Ben Arie, and presented the indictment to parliament before filing it to the court.

Lieberman resigned from office the next day, adding that he hoped he would be able to answer the charges before a snap parliamentary election called for January 22.

But media reports implying an insufficient inquiry into the case prompted Weinstein to reopen the investigation, and on Thursday he presented a tougher version of the same charges, with more evidence and additional witnesses.

A spokeswoman for the justice ministry said the updated chargesheet would be filed to the Jerusalem magistrates court on Sunday, December 30.

Among the witnesses named in the new chargesheet is deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, who heads the ministry's appointments committee.

Lieberman stands accused of receiving confidential details from Ben Arie of an investigation into his affairs by Belarussian police and of then seeking to reward him with promotion to ambassador to Latvia.

Lieberman allegedly did not tell Ayalon that Ben Arie had illegally kept him informed of the Belarussian inquiry.

Ayalon was recently ousted from Lieberman's ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, which is contesting the election on a joint list with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party. No reason for his ouster was given.

After the announcement of the tougher charges, Lieberman again insisted he was innocent and stressed he wanted "the issue to be swiftly clarified in a court."

He denied "rumours" that he had sought to reach a plea bargain.

Since 1996, Lieberman has faced several investigations into fraud and corruption allegations but has never been convicted.

The outspoken Soviet-born politician has courted controversy with his hardline stance on Israel's Arab minority, with critics accusing him of racism.

Since Lieberman's resignation, Netanyahu has served as interim foreign minister but he is reportedly seeking to reinstate his ally once legal proceedings have been completed.

 

Huthi seditious plans come out in open: Capture of government HQ in Sanaa

Bloody attack strikes outside Egypt Foreign Ministry in Cairo

Erdogan confesses: Turkey held ‘diplomatic negotiations’ with Islamic State

Pope denounces Islamic State: Religion cannot be used to justify violence!

Islamisation of education system prompts alarm in secular Turkey

UN warns over 'forcible transfer' of Palestinian Bedouin

Syria denies use of chlorine chemicals

Court verdict paves way for release of activist Mahienour el-Massry

IS fighters lay siege to Syria Kurdish town of Ain al-Arab

Israel steps up cyber-defense with new national body

Egypt military aircraft crashes after technical failure

Solution according to Huthis: Deal in Saada and battles in Sanaa

Mediators denounce ‘senseless fighting’ in South Sudan

Tunisia jihadist group offers backing to Islamic State

US Secretary of State sees role for Iran in war against Islamic State

Kurds cross from Turkey to fight Islamic State in Syria

Yemen suspends flights for second day as truce talks collapse

Turkey loses only excuse for appeasement with Islamic State

Marzouki seeks to stay as Tunisia President

Neighbourhood in Iraq’s Dhuluiyah stands against jihadists

British photographer Cantlie twice held hostage by IS

Turkey opens border to desperate Syrian Kurds

Jihadists to change tactics to avoid air strikes

Iran, six powers return to negotiating table

Saudi Arabia to restore Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque

Airlines suspend flights to Sanaa for 24 hours

US accuses Assad of breaking pact on chemical weapons

‘Concerned’ US urges Iran to cooperate in UN nuclear probe

Syrian children given anaesthesia not measles vaccination

France ready to provide ‘aerial support’ in Iraq

Tunisia denies existence of plot to assassinate Beji Caid Essebsi

Majority of Americans believe Obama mishandled terror threats

‘Islamic State’ releases video of captive British journalist

Libya cannot take more than 10 ministers

France approves bill to crack down on jihadists

Assassination of Libya ex-air force chief in Benghazi

14 Bahraini Shiites sentenced to life in prison for bombing

IS jihadists close in on Syria third largest Kurdish town

Yemen rebels clash with Sunni Islamists

New Turkish safety law costs 5,000 coal miners jobs

Bahrain slams Qatar for offering citizenship to Sunni nationals

Libya PM presents new cabinet in Tobruk

US House gives green light to plan to arm Syria rebels

Davutoglu denounces ruling against Turkey’s religion courses

South Sudan to revoke expulsion of foreign workers